As sweet as Ti

“Be a Measurer”

Came the words of amused encouragement from Yoli, shortly after we moved in together. We’d bought a blackboard from IKEA for the kitchen in our newly rented apartment and I was busy hanging it, spirit level in hand. She wasn’t used to anyone actually making sure things were level or centred, and to this day enjoys poking fun at me whenever I reach for the measure to a DIY task.

It was payback time this week though, when I appointed Yoli chief measurer – of me! I’m not sure she had ever held a spirit level before, and the irony of her doing so wasn’t lost on either of us after that fondly remembered proclamation all those years ago.

Measuring for a bike frame it seems is quite a lengthy process, eigth steps in all each needing to be done a few times to get a good average. Yoli did a patient and sterling job, aided by the excellent instructions at Competitive Cyclist to ease the process

Next step was feeding all these in and getting some actual frame geometries.

Competitive Fit (cm) Eddy Fit French Fit
Seat tube range c-c: 53.9 – 54.4 55.1 – 55.6 56.8 – 57.3
Seat tube range c-t: 55.6 – 56.1 56.8 – 57.3 58.5 – 59.0
Top tube length: 54.5 – 54.9  54.5 – 54.9 55.7 – 56.1
Stem Length: 11.2 – 11.8 10.1 – 10.7 10.3 – 10.9
BB-Saddle Position: 73.4 – 75.4 72.6 – 74.6 70.9 – 72.9
Saddle-Handlebar:  53.2 – 53.8 54.0 – 54.6 55.7 – 56.3
Saddle Setback: 5.2 – 5.6 6.4 – 6.8 5.9 – 6.3

At this stage, I have to confess the above are something of a jumble of numbers to me. All I can really say is they feel “not far off” i.e. some of the key dimensions, like BB to Saddle top aren’t that far off my current frame. That’s where I hope the skill and experience of my frame builder, Justin Burls, will step in and save me from my own ignorance. A long conversation with Justin today has certainly eased my nervousness at translatiing the numbers accurately into a a design that matches my ideas.  
You see that is the point of this whole excercise – a beautiful, hand crafted bike frame that is totally customised to my dimensions and aspirations. And not just any bike frame, a Ti frame built and welded in Russia by former submarine engineers. I almost feel like it should come etched with some bold iconic soviet symbols to celebrate it’s birthplace – a hammer and sickle maybe?
As I type this my email box has just pinged at me, and I see that Justin has already come back with his first draft design. The PDF has hardly loaded before I’ve already mentally translated the CAD outline into metal form, mounted up and am imagining racing down the kilometers
Patience will have to rule for now though, before we can take that inaugural ride together there’s a lot to be done, and first up I need to print out the design and go compare it to Merry. Time to be a measurer again.
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